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‘Rust’ Producers Still Owe Money to Halyna Hutchins’ Widower and Son, a Year After Settlement

The producers of the Alec Baldwin film “Rust” are nine months late in paying the widower and son of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was killed in a gun accident on set in 2021, according to a recent court filing.

Baldwin and the other producers announced a settlement of the family’s wrongful death lawsuit in October 2022. The terms, finalized in March 2023, provided for completion of “Rust” and payments to the Hutchins estate, including insurance funds and a portion of the profits.

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Rust Movie Productions LLC was supposed to make the full guaranteed payments by June 13, 2023, according to a Feb. 7 filing from the estate’s attorneys.

But that has not happened, according to the filing. The estate is now considering its options, which include resuming the wrongful death lawsuit or filing a new one.

It is not clear what caused the delay. Production resumed last April at a film ranch in Montana, several months behind schedule, and concluded in May. The WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes then disrupted business around the industry. The film is still seeking distribution.

Under the settlement, widower Matthew Hutchins was named an executive producer of the film. Otherwise, the terms have remained confidential. The production company had an insurance policy from Chubb with a $6 million limit, according to a filing with the New Mexico Film Office.

Baldwin is scheduled to face a criminal trial in July on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, was convicted last Wednesday of the same charge, and faces up to 18 months in prison at her sentencing in April.

The shooting has led to a complicated scrum of lawsuits and countersuits involving Baldwin, Gutierrez Reed, Hutchins’ relatives, crew members, the production company, insurance companies, and the Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the incident took place.

A look at where the other litigation stands:

Hutchins’ parents and sister v. Rust Movie Productions, et al.

After the settlement was announced with Hutchins’ widower and son, a similar lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles on behalf of her parents, Olga Solovey and Anatolii Androsovych, and her sister, Svetlana Zemko, all of whom live in Ukraine. The suit names Baldwin, the producers, and various crew members as defendants, along with the production company.

The suit seeks damages for “loss of consortium,” which in California can only be brought by a decedent’s spouse. The plaintiffs, represented by Gloria Allred and John Carpenter, have argued that the claim should be allowed because under New Mexico law, relatives who share a “mutual reliance” with the decedent can file a claim for loss of consortium.

On Feb. 22, Judge Rolf M. Treu agreed that New Mexico law should prevail. Despite that, he granted a motion filed by Baldwin and others to throw out the complaint, finding that Hutchins “did not share a sufficiently close relationship with her parents or her siblings” to state a claim under New Mexico law. He granted the plaintiffs 20 days to amend the complaint to add more detail about the relationship.

In a statement, Allred called the ruling “a win for Halyna’s family,” and said she would amend and refile. She also objected to Baldwin’s lawyers’ claim that the relatives had been “distanced from Halyna physically, financially, and emotionally for years before her death,” calling it “shameful and wholly unsubstantiated.”

The judge has also quashed service of Seth Kenney, the Arizona-based weapons supplier, finding that his ownership of a vacation home and a sailboat in California is not enough to subject him to the state’s jurisdiction. Gutierrez Reed, who also lives in Arizona, has likewise succeeded in arguing that she cannot be served with the complaint.

Serge Svetnoy Halyna Hutchins
Serge Svetnoy, the chief lighting technician on “Rust,” sits with his friend, DP Halyna Hutchins.

Serge Svetnoy v. Rust Movie Productions, et al.

Svetnoy, the chief lighting technician on “Rust,” was standing close by when Hutchins was shot. His suit, filed in Los Angeles in November 2021, alleges he was hit in the face with gunpowder and suffered emotional distress from witnessing his friend’s death.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys were slow in serving each of the defendants, resulting in a long delay. Judge Maurice A. Leiter recently granted Baldwin’s motion to stay the case, as to him, until his criminal case is resolved. The judge has also quashed service for out-of-state defendants who have little or no tie to California, including Gutierrez Reed, Kenney and prop master Sarah Zachry.

Mamie Mitchell v. Rust Movie Productions, et al.

Mitchell, the script supervisor, was also in the room at the time of the shooting. Her attorneys, Allred and Carpenter, filed a lawsuit similar to Svetnoy’s in November 2021. Judge Mel Red Recana recently granted Baldwin’s motion to stay the case, with regard to him, until the conclusion of his criminal case.

Mitchell testified in Gutierrez Reed’s trial, stating that the armorer was “inexperienced” and that her prop cart was messy. Asked if her testimony was somehow intended to help her civil suit, she answered: “It’s not going to help my civil lawsuit at all.”

Mamie Elizabeth Mitchell, a script supervisor, testifies in the trial against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, in First District Court, in Santa Fe, N.M., Thursday, February 22, 2024. She was describing that you normally plug your ears and open your mouth during gunshots. Gutierrez-Reed, who was working as the armorer on the movie "Rust" when a revolver actor Alec Baldwin was holding fired killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring Souza, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.
Mamie Mitchell, a script supervisor, testifies in the trial against Hannah Gutierrez Reed on Feb. 22, 2024. She was describing that you normally plug your ears and open your mouth during gunshots.

Alec Baldwin v. Gutierrez Reed, Kenney, Halls, Zachry

In response to Mitchell’s suit, Baldwin filed a cross-complaint against Gutierrez Reed, Kenney, Zachry and first assistant director David Halls, alleging that their negligence caused the tragedy. In it, he sought to “clear his name,” and stated that he had suffered immense grief and had lost out on job opportunities as a result of the shooting.

“More than anyone else on that set, Baldwin has been wrongfully viewed as the perpetrator of this tragedy,” his attorneys stated.

Judge Michael E. Whitaker granted motions to quash service of Zachry and Gutierrez Reed. But he largely rejected Halls’ motion to throw out portions of the cross-complaint.

David Halls v. Baldwin, Gutierrez Reed, Kenney, Zachry

Halls then filed his own cross-complaint to Mitchell’s suit, alleging in boilerplate fashion that the other four were negligent, and that they would have to contribute to any judgment levied against him. Baldwin has denied Halls’ claims.

Hannah Gutierrez Reed v. Kenney

Gutierrez Reed, the armorer, filed a product liability lawsuit against Kenney in January 2022 in New Mexico, accusing him of inadvertently mixing live bullets into a supply of dummy rounds. Kenney testified at the Gutierrez Reed trial last week that the live rounds didn’t come from him. Prosecutors also brought evidence showing that Gutierrez Reed was responsible for bringing the live rounds to set. Last August, lawyers for Gutierrez Reed dismissed the product liability suit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

Cherlyn Schaefer, the EMT/medic during the filming of Rust, testifies in the trial against Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, in First District Court, in Santa Fe, N.M., Thursday, February 22, 2024. Gutierrez-Reed, who was working as the armorer on the movie "Rust" when a revolver actor Alec Baldwin was holding fired killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring Souza, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and tampering with evidence.
Cherlyn Schaefer, the EMT/medic during the filming of “Rust,” testifies in the trial against Hannah Gutierrez Reed.

Cherlyn Schaefer v. Rust Movie Productions, et al.

Schaefer, the set medic, attempted to save Hutchins’ life in the moments after she was shot, calling for a a helicopter to fly her to the trauma center in Albuquerque. She sued the production, the Bonanza Creek Ranch, Gutierrez Reed, Halls, Zachry, and Kenney in New Mexico for emotional trauma.

Halls was able to get most claims against him dismissed on the grounds that Schaefer did not suffer a physical injury and thus could not claim damages for negligence. The production company and the location have each sought to piggyback on Halls’ successful argument. The Bonanza Creek Ranch has also filed a cross-complaint against the production company, arguing that it should be indemnified under the location agreement.

Zachry did not answer the complaint by the deadline, apparently because her attorney thought the insurance company would handle it. As a result, Zachry has been saddled with a default judgment, which was valued at $1.15 million at one point, but is now unspecified.

Schaefer also testified at the criminal trial. She said that she was the only medic on set for two patients, and there was no standby ambulance on site. She said she did not file the lawsuit for money, but rather as a means to advocate for change on those issues.

“I did not want something like to be able to happen again,” she said.

Ross Addiego, Doran Curtin and Reese Price v. Baldwin and Rust Movie Productions

The dolly grip, costumer, and key grip were all inside the church when the gun fired. They allege in their lawsuit that they suffered blast injuries including hearing loss, as well as insomnia, depression and symptoms of PTSD.

Judge Bryan Biedscheid denied Baldwin’s motion to dismiss the suit last year, and denied a motion to stay the suit pending the outcome of his criminal case. Baldwin filed a renewed motion to stay after he was indicted in January, and a hearing is set on that issue for Tuesday.

Addiego also testified at the criminal trial. He got into a sharp exchange with the armorer’s defense attorney, Jason Bowles, who suggested he had an incentive to shape his testimony because he is seeking money in his lawsuit.

“I’m hoping for justice, sir,” Addiego said. “Two people were injured on a film set. That has not only affected me, it’s affected the film industry.”

Farmers Insurance v. Kenney

Kenney, the weapons supplier, was sued six times for his involvement in “Rust.” To pay for his defense, he sought coverage from Farmers Insurance, which had written a policy on his commercial building in Lake Havasu, Ariz.

According to the insurer, however, Kenney originally claimed that he would be leasing the building to a hardware store, and never mentioned his work with guns and ammunition. Had the insurer known about that, it would not have written the policy, according to its complaint. The insurer is now seeking a declaration that it does not have to defend Kenney.

State of New Mexico v. Hannah Gutierrez Reed

Gutierrez Reed has been convicted of involuntary manslaughter, but she still faces a separate criminal trial for bringing a gun into the Matador, a dive bar in Santa Fe, about three weeks before the shooting. Her attorneys have argued the charge was filed in retaliation for refusing a plea deal, in which Gutierrez Reed would have had to confess to bringing the live rounds to set. They have sought to throw it out.

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